• Why employees should put extra effort into impressing the boss

    June 06, 2016 by
    Woman raising her hand to ask question photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    At the very beginning of your career, you may be faced with the fact that all the knowledge and the diplomas in the world will not be enough to save you if you are on your boss’s bad side. You will end up watching from your cubicle how other people are getting promoted, while you are sitting there and doing the same things you have done on your first day at work.

    You see, when people graduate they are full of confidence and hope, and that is not a bad thing, but books and tests are just the basics that should be upgraded with experience and interpersonal relationships. One of the people who can affect your professional growth the most is your boss, and you should do your best to make that relationship productive and mutually beneficial.

    Learning from your boss

    One of the main reasons why you should have a good relationship your boss is the opportunity to learn from someone who is in a position you would love to be in the future. If you are constantly giving your maximum with work tasks and showing consistency and dedication, you will have the right to participate in some important conversations and find out many valuable things, not only about the company you are working in, but also about the road to success.

    Self-improving

    At first, your motivation may be just to impress your boss, but as time goes on, your dedication and efforts will grow to become habits and make your career success even more certain. Showing up to work early and taking initiative might seem like “sucking up” to your boss to other employees and to you yourself, but actually, when you think about it, there is nothing wrong with these actions. On the contrary, they showcase you as a well-educated and ambitious man/woman.

    You are the image of your boss

    … and vice versa. A good boss surrounds himself with competent people, and if you show to be anything other but that, you will not only make your boss look bad, but also create a negative image about yourself, which can impact your position in the firm, and even future employment opportunities. If you on the other hand, do your best to make your boss succeed, you will show that you are a great employee worthy of going up the corporate ladder.

    Improving your current job

    If you want to love the job you are doing, you have to make it a job you can love. The best, and possibly the only way to do so, is to make your boss fond of you. If you are consistently productive and assigning for the difficult tasks, you will have a more pleasant relationship with your boss, which will make your working hours less stressful. Beyond that, you will get better assignments and maybe become the right-hand-man/woman.

    Getting promoted

    The ultimate goal of every employee would never even be considered without a long process of impressing the boss. After all, your boss is the one handling the decisions about transfer of the employees to a better job. If you notice he is giving you some extra projects and work, accept it with enthusiasm, because this can be a part of grooming you for higher jobs, and eventually even his position. So, make sure you are on his radar by struggling to get new challenges and more recognition, instead of struggling to get your work done.

    Some people would love to spend their days at work unnoticed to avoid conflicts and critiques, but by doing so, they are also avoiding praises and opportunities. Do not be one of those people and fight your way up to the top, in a struggle where impressing your boss is your best chance to succeed.

    In search of more career advice? Come to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Nate Vickery, guest writer

    Nate Vickery, guest writer

    Nate Vickery is a marketing manager and a blogger. He is also the editor-in-chief at BizzMarkBlog.

  • Basing your job search on company growth

    May 13, 2016 by
    Four college graduates in graduation gowns standing close to each other and making selfie courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    g-stockstudio/Shutterstock.com

    College students preparing to enter the workforce must consider jobs based on information that extends beyond the description of available positions, including company growth. By considering the characteristics of prospective employers, job seekers can make decisions that can improve their chances of having long, successful careers.

    For many college graduates, getting involved with a growing enterprise represents an opportunity to share the benefits of company growth. Employers that currently experience growth and expect it to continue in the future often promote employees from within to fill vacant positions. The move controls recruiting and hiring costs, and gives employees opportunities for professional growth.

    Company growth ranks as one of the most important factors in the job search. Although the stability of mature companies that have stopped growing might seem attractive, they could limit career development for new college graduates. Younger companies might bring a degree of uncertainty and increased responsibilities to the table, but they also bring an opportunity for new employees to quickly grow in their profession.

    Expanding product lines

    Companies that signal growth through the expanded product lines give prospective employees reasons to believe they can grow with the enterprise. Nike, an established company, once experienced periods of growth as the company extended its brand from shoes to clothing, accessories, and electronics. College graduates who see a company expanding in a similar way can expect to gain valuable experience in business and brand development during an extensive career with the same employer. After gaining work experience with such a firm, employees can market their skills and experience to other companies that want to grow.

    Growth through acquisition

    Growing companies may choose to buy other firms as a pathway to growth. Professionals working for businesses expanding this way can find themselves at the top of the overarching corporate structure. Such a situation exposes employees to diverse business models and organizational structures, as they assimilate new firms into the company. Good performance in positions of high responsibility gives workers a path to higher pay and promotions.

    Blue Coat, a growing player in the cloud security market, provided a good example of growth through acquisition when the firm bought Elastica, a startup provider of software that can detect the inappropriate use of cloud-based applications. The company adds innovative technology to the acquiring firm, as well as the responsibility to create synergy with the combined company. Qualified job candidates might consider working for such a company because the business could continue to fuel its growth by buying other companies.

    Market expansion

    Companies with existing products that seek to grow by entering new markets need well-educated job candidates to fill positions within the growing organization. Graduates who choose to join a firm with a demonstrated pattern of market expansion can expect to have a long-term pathway to career development, as they learn how to deal with markets regionally, nationally, and globally markets. As their employer grows, workers can expect to assume new responsibilities that increase their value to the firm and possible future employers. Although many companies such as Netflix have entered different countries to pursue growth, smaller companies might grow by expanding into different regions of the same country. For example, Express Employment Professionals began as a small staffing firm in Oklahoma and has since grown by expanding into hundreds of markets around the USA.

    A study referenced by Forbes.com showed companies that promote employees from within outperform those that fill positions with external hires. College graduates willing to join a business during its early stages might at first accept a lower wage, but the increased chances of promotion within the firm can compensate for any initial loss.

    If you’re looking for more job search tips, visit the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Cameron Johnson, guest writer

    Cameron Johnson, guest writer

    Cameron Johnson is a BYU Alumni and business consultant. Since graduating from college in 2013, he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international marketing conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.

  • 10 soft skills employers expect of recent graduates

    May 12, 2016 by
    Background concept wordcloud illustration of soft skills glowing light courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Kheng Guan Toh/Shutterstock.com

    Are you ready to find your dream job as soon as you graduate? Then, it’s high time to draw a detailed plan with soft skills required for the workplace. This will help you stand out from other candidates and be a perfect fit for the position of your choice.

    To successfully accomplish the task, college graduates can analyze requirements for current vacancy announcements, make use of LinkedIn or Branded.me profiles of people with a great experience, and study analytical articles on the labor market to always stay updated.

    It’s not a secret, though, that plenty of online sources post about top soft skills potential employers want in their candidates’ CVs or resumes. So, why not focus on them to make your preparation for obtaining a good entry-level job a bit easier? Here’s what is highly demanded by most of the recruiters:

    1 – Lifelong learners

    Recent grads can hardly boast of knowing everything about the work they will perform daily. It’s quite natural when something is learned along the way. Sometimes employers prefer young, enthusiastic graduates over highly experienced professionals, since the former tend to learn and absorb new information more eagerly and are ready to develop a learning habit. The latter instead are quite often more stubborn and unlikely to reach a compromise, which can hinder team effectiveness. Additionally, lifelong learners are supposed to know how to obtain and process information to solve the problems they haven’t faced before.

    2 – Team players

    Teamwork is not only about collective responsibility for every team player’s actions. It’s also about communicating your message to others and achieving that goal with the help of knowledge and each employee’s efforts. Effective team performance depends much on the correct management and delegation of tasks. In contrast to past expectations for team players, modern employers are looking for those who will be proactive and suggest creative solutions. Initiative is strongly encouraged.

    3 – Effective time managers and schedulers

    Chaos brings no positive effect. To show high productivity and performance, it’s crucial to hone time management and prioritization skills. These two skills rank high on most employers’ lists of soft skills. For that, managers and schedulers need to negotiate deadlines and schedule tasks appropriately. Should tasks be equally urgent, they’d better discuss which one to take first together with their reporters. When using electronic or paper planners, think of short breaks that need to be made between tasks, divide time-consuming tasks into several subtasks, and leave about 10 or 15% of time for coping with emergencies and contingencies. Set reminders well in advance, and review to-do lists daily.

    4 – Good listeners and masters of convincing people

    Being a good listener doesn’t mean you should keep silent while somebody else is expressing his or her thoughts, so that you can further move on to your statements. The point is to really listen and hear other team players and choose the best solutions working together. Another important thing is to know how to make everyone understand what you mean. In other words, you should learn to use simple and concise statements, speaking with confidence to all people in the company regardless of their seniority.

    Problem solver words on business cards courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    iQoncept/Shutterstock.com

    5 – Problem solvers

    At the top of most top list of soft skills is “problem solving skills.” The first step to successful problem solving is to clearly understand what the problem is and what caused it. The next step is to carefully consider interests of others and list all suitable solutions. The final step is to evaluate suggested options by listing their advantages and disadvantages, and then choose the one that has the most pluses. To be an efficient problem solver, you need to get rid of fear. By focusing more on tackling the problem, you will be able to do it with ease.

    6 – Company fan

    Being a company fan means to be knowledgeable about your employer’s industry. Understanding what key benefits the company gives to its customers or clients, how the process of decision-making is organized, what main competitors the company has, etc. are among the things job seekers should learn before a job interview.

    7 – Data analyzer

    If you work with people with analytical mindsets, you are a lucky person. This allows you to quickly gather, assess, and analyze new information, selecting only the things you will need at work. This soft skill is highly required for making future plans or prognoses, and creating recommendations for others to follow. This skill is also helpful when you need to analyze your successes or failures, which is very important for your progress.

    8 – Tech-savvy person

    This means not only knowing how to create, delete, or remove presentations or surf the Internet proficiently. Being tech-savvy means knowing what tools and programs are used by the specialist you want to become. For example, if you want to become a web designer, you will need to master such programs as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Indesign.

    9 – Critical thinker

    If you have a chance to join a series of workshops on how to become a good critical thinker, jump at the chance! These practical lessons will teach you how to criticize somebody else wisely by finding a strong argument and how to accept criticism of your work. Being a critical thinker is essential for improving your communication skills and professional growth too. Critical thinking ranks high on the list of soft skills regardless of your job title or position.

    10 – Curious mind

    Being curious means to never be afraid of asking questions. Though, it doesn’t mean you should behave like a chattering box, annoying other employees with your never-ending questions. You should ask questions when you don’t know the answers so your work won’t be done slowly. You must use proper discernment to ask questions of the right person (your manager or mentors) at the right time (one on one and in quiet settings, and preferably not during the last five minutes of meetings).

    A few final tips

    Taking an active part in extra-curricular activities and voluntary projects can also help job seekers develop a set of useful skills for their future jobs. By establishing friendly relationships with people, you increase your chances of getting what you need. Who knows, maybe some of your peers or instructors will recommend you as a highly promising hire one day.

    Need more help with your job search? Head over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

    Nancy Lin, guest writer

    Nancy Lin, guest writer

    Nancy Lin is a student of Rockhurst University and enthusiastic freelance writer who enthuses about rock music, writing, and classic English literature. Feel free to contact her at Twitter or Google+.

  • 11 quick LinkedIn tips

    March 28, 2016 by
    Linkedin website on a computer screen courtesy of Shutterstock.com

    Ingvar Bjork/Shutterstock.com

    Did you know 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to look for candidates? This means companies can find job seekers’ profiles and invite them for job interviews. For this to happen, though, job seekers need to make their profiles look appropriate. Adding their pictures and job titles is not enough anymore, as their LinkedIn profiles can be more important than their resumes. If job seekers want recruiters to visit their pages often and offer them great positions, here are some things they should consider.

    1. Recommendations

    Employers tend to pay a lot of attention not only to job seekers’ professional skills, but also to their corporate backgrounds. If applicants have proven to be excellent team workers at their previous jobs, they should seek recommendations from former bosses or colleagues. Ask some of them to write a couple of nice recommendations. Don’t exaggerate here, though. If applicants have had five jobs so far but have 15 recommendations, it might seem weird.

    2. Write a longer headline

    If you already have a job, but are open to new offerings, don’t just mention the company and your position there; it might be not enough to see what you do. Instead of writing, for example, “PR Manager at Example Company,” write “PR manager at Example Company: Helping big and small companies.”

    3. Have enough connections

    Having 50 connections on LinkedIn makes job seekers seem unfriendly, unprofessional, and unmotivated. Having 3000 contacts makes them look like they add everyone to their list of connections, and they don’t even care who’s there. Try to have a moderate number of connections, and you will be visible enough to make the network help your professional growth. Try to find all of your friends, former classmates, and colleagues if you’ve already worked somewhere.

    4. Write only true information

    We don’t want to lecture job seekers, but lying is unacceptable in the professional world. It concerns their LinkedIn profiles, too, particularly education and previous jobs. It is not only that recruiters can check everything, but it is also about ethics. Earning trust is an important step to professional success.

    5. Be brief

    No one likes to read lots of text, especially if it is not formatted correctly. Even if job seekers had tons of experience and they want to talk about it, they should organize it. Write a job title and describe your responsibilities point by point. Use headlines and short sentences; they are easier to comprehend.

    6. Students can mention all the jobs they’ve had

    Surely, when you are a big boss with 10 jobs behind, you can skip some of the gigs you’ve had such as pizza delivery or tutoring in college. However, college students or recent graduates might want to add at least some things to their work experience. Besides, most students do something during their college years. If they managed to study and freelance at the same time, they should mentions that. If students helped their professors grade papers, they can write about that too. Don’t leave a page blank; add at least something.

    7. Choose the right picture for your profile

    Don’t pick an Instagram-style photo or a cute picture with your pets; post casual photos on Facebook or elsewhere. Low-quality pictures are also not the best choice. Think of how you want potential employers to see you. The photo should be a recent, high-quality photograph where one can clearly see your face. You can also add a background picture; the best choice would be either a picture from some conference you participated in or some nature pic.

    8. Write about your main skills, not all of them

    We all know you are a talented person. However, if you are trying for an accountant job, recruiters probably don’t need to know you are a good cook. At the top of your LinkedIn page, your potential employer or recruiters need to see those skills suitable for them. Also, don’t mention the skills you don’t want to use in your next job. If you are tired of your current work where you need to design, for example, exclude this skill from your profile.

    9. Add a decent email address

    If your personal email address is [email protected] or something like that, you probably want to get a new one. You must have had a laugh creating it, but now it is time to be more professional and to use your own name for your email address.

    10. Don’t mention your age

    Although all the companies say age discrimination doesn’t exist, that is not true. They always consider age when hiring. So, try not to mention it.

    11. Make sure all is correct

    Making mistakes in a LinkedIn profile is a no-no. Pay attention not only to grammar and spelling, but to style and formatting. Everything should be clear and understandable. Style should be formal and professional.

    Try to look at your text as an objective reader, or better yet, show it to someone. Ask a friend, colleague, or professor to read it and correct the mistakes you might have missed.

    A LinkedIn profile is much more important now than it was a couple of years ago. More and more professionals, companies, and headhunters create accounts and use them actively every day. Job seekers probably want to look equally experienced and professional on their pages, so spend enough time creating them and don’t be lazy.

    Looking for more LinkedIn tips for your job search? Turn to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

    Photo of William Sarto

    William Sarto, guest writer

    William Sarto is a marketer and content strategist working at the freelance writing board – gohunters.com. He shares his knowledge and experience in his articles based on current marketing trends and also provides actionable tips for students willing to build successful business careers. He is passionate about all new techniques and methods appearing in digital marketing. Working in one of the most fast changing industries requires many skills from young specialists, so if you have any questions feel free to contact Will @ twitter, Google+